Converting Dirt Cheap "Dry Stone" Italian Alps Animal Shelter Into Tiny Home

Converting Dirt Cheap "Dry Stone" Italian Alps Animal Shelter Into Tiny Home

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Converting Dirt Cheap "Dry Stone" Italian Alps Animal Shelter Into Tiny Home

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Martijn Doolaard is no stranger to roughing it after spending years literally biking around the world so when it was time to settle down and he recognized the incredible opportunity in a primitive dry stone structure in Italian Alps near Turin. Dry stone means literally no mortar, just a simple wood skeleton and stone stacked on stone. Martijn had his work cut out for himself but the results are incredible, especially considering his budget. Saluti! 

“After spending years cycling around the world, Martijn Doolaard was ready for a more permanent home and he wanted something with a view. Remembering the rough beauty of the peaks of Val Pellice from a bike trip, Doolaard discovered dozens of “dirt cheap” abandoned homes for sale and bought two at the top of a mountain beyond the electric grid.

Originally built as shelters for farmers and their animals, his cabins are dry stone: stacked stones supported by their own weight without any mortar. The structures were in good shape but filled with holes between the stones letting in cold and wind, so Doolaard set up camp inside one, using his tent and technical sleeping bag from his bikelife days to begin renovating.

He bought second-hand solar panels that he pre-setup so he could simply plug and play to have power from day one. These provided sufficient power for a few power tools, his lighting, and laptop. He invested in a wood-burning stove for heat and a bottle of propane for cooking. He uses his phone as a hotspot to continue to do his graphic design work remotely.”

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